Socially Responsible Business

Being a Socially Responsible Business is becoming more and more important.

Neilson recently talked about the impact of being a socially responsible business or company, and doing good beyond your products or services and the impact that has on your bottom-line.

socially responsible business

Your Business Operations Can Impact Your Results

How do you change your business so that you are operating in a socially responsible way or having a social impact?

Consumers have said and have demonstrated that they will pay more for products that are Fair Trade, Organic, Socially Responsible in their production.

Your organizational values are one thing, but it is more about living those values publicly that is on the line.  People are observing HOW companies practice their values.  When companies take a stand that can have a direct impact on that bottom line, both positive and negative.

In the recent Neilson article, their observation is that social responsibility has moved beyond environmental issues to being a good corporate citizen.  This is critical.  It may be that while the new administration eases regulations, that people will demand they be observed anyway.  People do not want coal companies dumping waste into their water.  People do not want BIG banks investing in a pipeline that potentially can pollute waters.  People are making their voices heard through social media and through the effective use of hashtags on social media.

What is a Socially Responsible Business?

According to

Social responsibility is the idea that businesses should balance profit-making activities with activities that benefit society; it involves developing businesses with a positive relationship to the society in which they operate. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), emphasizes that the relationship to the society and environment in which businesses operate is “a critical factor in their ability to continue to operate effectively. It is also increasingly being used as a measure of their overall performance.”

impact project

How does this impact your small business?

This can have a tremendous affect both positive and negative on your business.  If your company is reaching out to the community and doing good in the community, people notice.  If at the same time, your company is polluting and dumping toxic waste, that is going to override all the “good” that the company is trying to do.  The two are out of alignment with each other.  You need to operate in alignment with your company values and those need to be in alignment with the good of the community and the world.

  1. Look at your company values and see if there are ways that you are out of alignment.  Values are typically an ideal that we strive for and that we do not always achieve successfully all the time. But now, it is time to do a check –> a values alignment check.
  2. Decide on a plan to improve your alignment and take it a step further.
  3. Can your company join thousands of others in a movement of social responsibility?  What would that look like for your company?  There are probably some quick things that you can do right away:
    1. Look at your operations — how can they be more sustainable, earth friendly — can you increase recycling programs, eliminate the use of styrofoam cups, eliminate the use of disposable cups for coffee, buy bio degradable disposables for your cafeteria, use recycled paper, decrease printing and use more digital….Join Green America and become a certified Green Business.
    2. Look at your banking — can you switch from a BIG bank to a credit union or community bank?
    3. Look at your employees — are you paying a fair wage, can you improve your workplace, what are your employees passionate about?
    4. Look at your business model — is there a way to incorporate your social causes into your business model?  Can you give one for one? Or can you set up a donation model? Can your customers participate in that model?  Choose a place for a portion of profits to be given?  Is there an organization that fits with your company mission?

    There are so many ways to change how your company operates and make more of a difference in your community and the world.

    Here are a couple of examples of social impact businesses —

    There was the story of Rosa’s Pizza in Philadelphia that was giving away free slices of pizza to the homeless.  That story shared on Upworthy in 2015 had such an impact on people that it was shared over 800,000 times and increased their business and their giveaway tremendously.

    Recently, on CBS Sunday Morning — they shared a different business model in which a local brew pub opened as a non-profit and donates money from each brew served to one of six rotating charities. Customers get to choose which charity they are supporting with their purchase.

    And there are movements to change how companies operate.  Chocolate — largely harvested in African with child slave labor — women around the country have been campaigning for big chocolate companies to stop buying chocolate that is not Fair Trade, and they are having an impact.

    Much of the work that I have been doing over the past weeks has been to raise our social consciousness at Compass Rose Consulting and identify ways that we can improve operations as outlined above and make more of an impact on the community and the world.

    These changes while still very much under construction are improvements to a foundation that already existed and is being improved and revised as the year moves ahead.  I am adding resources for you that you can access — about operating in more socially responsible ways.

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